People travel around the world for business, pleasure, and escape. By offering to help them learn or improve in the use of your language, you can build relationships and find opportunities to share God’s love. Here are some approaches that have served people who are just like you:
- Go to dinner and make a friend. People new to your country find jobs in the ethnic restaurants that abound in most cities as well as in the mainline restaurants of your country. By taking the time to talk with these workers and owners, you can soon make new friends. Once you’ve developed a friendly relationship, offer to help them with your language.
- Go back to college. Many international departments offer opportunities to “adopt” an international student. Students must learn your language to study in your colleges, yet they are hungry to find ways to practice their conversation skills.
- Join the library. If there is a need for studying the national language in your community, your library may already have something set up. They may need volunteers.
- Tutor. Contact schools and get to know immigrant children. In the process you’ll get to know the whole family.
- Develop your interests. Whether your current friends are from China, Africa, America, Iran, Mexico, or Russia, the friendships you have made began with an interest expressed on your part. Perhaps you have an area of the world that interests you or a specific culture that has large numbers of people in your community. Show members of that culture that you are interested in their country, customs, food, and traditions. They may be curious about your reasons for giving your time to help them. This is your opportunity to explain that you care about them and so does God. Be careful that you do not step too far too fast. You wouldn’t want to give them the impression that they are a “project.”
Refugees, immigrants, students, and long-term business workers or military personnel are often lonely, strangers in a strange land. But as you relate to them, and encourage them to practice and improve their English, you have opened doors that give you the opportunity to share your faith. What more could you do?
- Offer to take them to the doctor or other appointments.
- Show them the sights in your town.
- Invite international students to celebrate your holidays with your family, and offer to attend their sharing of their holiday celebrations, being host if needed.
- If they have a family here as well, get to know their spouse and children. Invite them to play with your children. Sometimes wives of students spend their days in nearby apartments while their children and husband attend school.
- Answer their questions honestly. Once you get to know students, they may have questions about your faith. This is the time to share your heart. You’ve shown friendship and God’s love; the time for talking about it has arrived.
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists